California Riding Magazine • April, 2009

Unusual Opportunity
Spalding Labs presents Light Hands Horsemanship: An Adventure in Lightness

by Robert M. Miller DVM

The third annual Light Hands Horsemanship Clinic and Symposium will be held at Intrepid Farms in the beautiful and historic Santa Ynez Valley near the costal town of Santa Barbara.

Conceived of by Intrepid Farms owner Arthur Perry after he saw Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Lester Buckley, Jon Ensign and me perform at an international horsemanship expo in Brazil several years ago, the event has brought widespread acclaim. With me at the 2009 gathering on May 29-31 will be the three original clinicians: brilliant colt starter Jon Ensign of Montana; Eitan Beth-Halachmy, the founder of Cowboy Dressage and one of the world’s best horsemen; and Lester Buckley, a remarkable Texas western horse trainer who is now also a licensed dressage and open jumping instructor in Germany.

This year’s event will also feature the great senior reinsman Jack Brainard. Jack is one of the original organizers of the National Reining Horse Association. He is one of Texas’ greatest horsemen.
This is a rare opportunity to learn from several of the world’s best horsemen, in an unusual casual environment on a very beautiful private estate.

Attendance is limited to 200 people. In addition to the horsemanship education, they will enjoy great food from an authentic chuck wagon coming all the way from New Mexico, informal gatherings with the clinicians, select vendors and entertainment.

Once again a small, select trade show will be set up on the farm, offering high quality merchandise for the horse owner.
Morgan, Gypsy, Andalusian and American Quarter Horses will be some of the horses used in the clinics.

Master Horsemen

This is a great and rare opportunity to enjoy an entertaining and congenial experience and simultaneously learn from these masters of horsemanship:

Eitan Beth-Halachmy: The great horseman from Northern California’s Grass Valley, a classical horseman who combined his skills with California Vaquero horsemanship to create Cowboy Dressage.
Lester Buckley: This Texas cutting horse champion trainer is now a dressage and jumping instructor in Germany and a trainer in Hawaii. Lester worked for both the King Ranch in Texas and the Parker Ranch in Hawaii, where he makes his home.
Jon Ensign: This Montana cowboy is a master of natural horsemanship and a brilliant colt starter.
Jack Brainard: Coming all the way from Texas with is Quarter Horse, Jack brings a wealth of knowledge and experience.
In the evening, participants will sit around the campfire and listen to Shameless Cowgirl Poetry by Lauren LaRue, a favorite Light Hands Horsemanship entertainer. She will be joined by Jack Brainard, Robert Miller and Petrine Mitchum, author of Hollywood Hoof Beats and famed horsewoman, Dianne Olds Rossi, as they share stories about horses and horse people from the past with a special look at the horses and times of Hollywood Silver Screen Cowboys and Westerns. These are evenings you want to be sure to attend.
Rick Lamb of The Horse Show on RFD-TV will once again be this year’s emcee. Rick is a great asset and offers many unique perspectives during each presentation.

Spalding-Labs Fly Predators is our event sponsor. Tom Spalding works tirelessly and believes in this event as much as we all do. His dedication and willingness to get the job done right and with class makes for a spectacular event.

You won’t want to miss Eitan and Jack as they do a Cowboy Dressage ride together to music. You will be inspired as these two senior horsemen demonstrate what can be learned and accomplished with an open mind, light communication and the desire to continue to learn and do more. Between the two of them there is over 150 years of experience and wisdom.

Santa Ynez is known for its wonderful weather, especially this time of year. Those who have not been there should plan an extra day or two to visit horse and cattle ranches, vineyards, beautiful Santa Barbara and nearby beaches. Hearst Castle in only a few hours north along the coast and nearby Solvang, a quaint Scandinavian community, is full of shops, restaurants and B&Bs. Besides many fine hotels in the area, Cachuma Lake Resort, near Intrepid Farms, offers RV and trailer hook-ups and rental cabins on the lake.

For complete information on Light Hands Horsemanship, its horsemen and program please visit their website at:, e-mail or call 530-346-2715. For information on Spalding Labs, visit